Tag Archive: manga

Ghost in the Shell is a pile of garbage

What an execrable mess. It’s so embarrassing when a well-respected piece of storytelling is remade under the Hollywood banner and thoroughly butchered. You would think with so much access to talent and resources, a Hollywood film would take the work to the next level. Instead, it shoves it to the depths. This film is not worth anyone’s money. View full article »

Concerns About Ghost In The Shell

Ghost in the Shell Live Action FilmThe upcoming live-action Ghost in the Shell film captures the look of the anime films, but does it capture the soul? View full article »

Akira and the Art of Cult Movies

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to see Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo’s masterwork in comics brought to the screen. Fascinating movie, especially when you see it with subtitles on the big screen. Dubbing removes a bit of the nuance.

What especially struck me, however, was the atmosphere. The crowd for Akira was predictably long, reaching down the block and around the corner. This is true of all cult films. The audience is patient and loyal and will happily stand in line as long as it takes.

Cult films are a strange subset of the movie-going experience. By their nature they cannot be mainstream. Most people will react with confusion or even revulsion, while a special few will wait forever and a day just to see a film in its purest form; in a run-down art-house movie theater with the fringes of society who just seem to “know” what quality really is.

There were all walks of life there for Akira that midnight. I saw punks in mohawks and pigtails sitting with people who looked like a mix of high fashion and 1920s flappers. Film buffs discussed the symbolic meaning of the themes in the film while cosplay enthusiasts discussed details on fabricating the clothing of the main characters. While bikers and hipsters mingled in the isles, people made way for an elderly man leading his almost completely blind son to the front row for a good look at the film screen.

A movie theater is a kind of temple. The audience members are the faithful and the theater employees are a combination of high priests and disciples. The film is the sermon. If this is true, then the cult film represents a hermetic order where the faithful are from all walks of life and the fringes of society. The experience is a combination of a carnival show and a faith healing seminar.

The manager of the theater came out as he, or someone, always does. It was time for the door prizes. Each ticket to the theater had a number and a lucky pair of attendees got their prizes. The manager then went over the upcoming midnight movies and took a poll on what movies people would want to see next. He hesitantly offered up Pokemon: The Movie and hung his head in shame when the audience roared their affirmation. And then it was time for the movie.

Akira is a cult film because no one in the mainstream really understands it. They see the flashy animation, the violence, the nudity and the gore and they think that’s all there is. It’s a story, however, about the chaos of youth resisting against the order of the old. Of a bureaucratic government so paralyzed by infighting that the very world is falling apart around it while the politicians do nothing. Some are incompetent, most are corrupt.

In a way, it hearkens to the Gothic genre of storytelling. In gothic literature, the world is corrupt and decaying while the established old attempt to submit and subdue the impetuous young. And like the traditional gothic genre, the young have their way regardless, tearing down the old order to establish a newer, better world.

Most people wouldn’t read that much into Akira. Then again, most people don’t understand Akira. That’s the magic of the cult film. There’s always something in it that “most people” don’t get or don’t want, making it a valuable commodity to a special few that see the magic inside the mayhem. This allows a film-going experience that is truly special because it’s appreciated by the special few.

That is the art of the cult film.

Akira Live Action Trailer

akira manga volume 1 cover

Akira was the epic manga masterwork of Katushiro Otomo. Part action, part thriller, part social commentary, Otomo created a world on the brink of destruction through the creation and abuse of super-psychics of which the most powerful was the mostly unseen, but oft spoken-of Akira. It’s only natural that people would want to see a live-action version, and when Hollywood doesn’t answer the door, crowdfunding aims to please:


And crowdfunding is what makes this so interesting!

View full article »

Akira Director would like film franchise

A real life recreation of the motorcycle of Kaneda, the main protagonist of the manga Akira

A real life recreation of the motorcycle of Kaneda, the main protagonist of the manga Akira

Akira is the name of a landmark manga (japanese comic book) that ran from 1982 to 1990 and spanned 6 massive volumes. Combining stunning artwork with complex storylines and morally ambiguous characters, Akira was part social commentary, part thriller and all sci-fi action. It was inevitable that someone would want to make a live action film of it.

That someone is Warner Bros. Back in 2011, Warner Bros. contracted a director by the name of Jaume Collet-Serra to direct a live-action version of the epic story, only to have him drop out after Warner tried to slash the budget. To be fair, anyone familiar with the story knows how much CGI is necessary to pull the film off. There are psychic mutants, robot tanks, and if they get far enough into the story, the entire destruction of Japan by a psychic blast from the eponymous Akira himself.

Jaume took some time to speak to Comic Book Resources on the subject, and this is what he had to say regarding adapting such an epic work into a film:

It’s different, because you have to be respectful of the source material . . . The only way to do a live version of Akira is to take the spirit and adapt it. It will be as different as the anime was from the manga.

So hopefully in my version that will be strong, and you’ll have a story that happens in that world that will show you a little bit of the mystery . . . Then, if you’re interested, they’ll make Akira 2 and 3 then you can get deeper into it. I love the world, a lot of people love that world, so why wouldn’t we indulge in it a little bit and see how it would be if it was real?

Admirable vision, but Akira is complex work. We’ll see how it turns out. Quantum Pop will be keeping tabs on this for you so be sure to check our feeds!

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